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El Cenizo Continues Fight against Anti-Sanctuary Law

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EL CENIZO – The city of El Cenizo isn’t backing down from opposing Senate Bill 4, commonly known as the “sanctuary city” bill.

El Cenizo Mayor Raul Reyes argues the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments are violated by the bill, therefore, making it unconstitutional.

The “sanctuary city” bill prohibits cities in Texas from implementing or maintaining policies that prevent local officials form sharing immigration-related information with the federal government. Local officials are also required to cooperate with immigration detainer requests issued by the federal government under federal law.

In May, the city of El Cenizo, along with Maverick County, the League of United Latin American Citizens and other cities, expressed support in trying to temporarily block the measure from going into effect September 1.

But the U.S. Department of Justice sided with Texas in the issue late last month, saying, "the Department of Justice fully supports Texas' effort and is participating in this lawsuit because of the strong federal interest in facilitating the state and local cooperation that is critical in enforcing our nation's immigration laws."

Reyes said the decision by the DOJ was disappointing. He said the city of El Cenizo passed a safe haven ordinance in 1999. The ordinance prevents El Cenizo city workers from asking about a person’s immigration status.

Cities, such as El Cenizo, that don’t comply with SB4 could face budget cuts from the federal government.

Reyes said that consequence isn’t swaying his decision.   

“It's very important to continue to send a very clear message to our state leaders. And that is that no dollar amount is more valuable than standing up for our people and for doing the right thing,” he said. 

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